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Choosing to grow your family through surrogacy involves the expertise of many professionals, including fertility specialists, lawyers, psychologists, and social workers. There is also, of course, the cost of a surrogate along with fees for assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, such as in vitro fertilization and, in some cases, egg donation. Having a solid team of professionals to help you navigate this complex process and an experienced agency to coordinate the journey all contribute to the cost of surrogacy.
Surrogacy costs fall under 5 categories:
Each surrogacy case is unique, and the total cost depends on several factors. It’s important to note that these costs don’t include the price of IVF, which intended parents pay directly to their clinic. In general, you'll find that surrogacy costs can range from around $80,000 to upwards of $200,000.
Working with an experienced surrogacy agency provides intended parents peace of mind, giving them the security and confidence of knowing that experienced professionals are managing their journey for them.
Fees paid to a full-service agency cover the cost of tasks such as:
Take a deeper dive into what’s covered by a surrogacy agency fee in this blog post.
Screening potential surrogates is a vital step that helps ensure intended parents are matched with healthy and committed surrogate mothers who can successfully carry a baby to term. The screening process involves:
Pre-screening: This includes checking an applicant’s pregnancy history and medical records, performing criminal and financial background checks, and compiling information about health insurance.
Social work screening: Social workers discuss a wide range of topics with the applicant, including her motivation, her family and interpersonal relationships, who’s part of her support network, what her expectations are for the surrogacy journey, and her views on termination and selective reduction.
Psychological exam: Each surrogate applicant must complete psychological testing through the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), which a licensed psychologist interprets.
The average cost of a surrogate ranges from $50,000 to $60,000, which includes base compensation and various benefits and expenses. The surrogate cost typically makes up the majority of intended parents’ surrogacy expenses.
Here is a general breakdown of surrogate costs:
Base compensation: $30,000-$40,000 ($40,000-$45,000 for California surrogates); experienced surrogates can earn an additional $5,000+ for each surrogacy journey.
Personal and home care payments: Monthly payments for surrogate spending, maternity clothes, and housekeeping.
Child care, travel, and lost wages: Includes travel for screening and embryo transfer, mileage reimbursement, cost of child care or lost wages, and the lost wages of the surrogate’s travel companion.
Fourth-trimester (post-birth) care: Flex spending, lost wages or child care during recovery, meals, reimbursement for breast pumping supplies and pumping payments.
Other costs may be incurred in specific cases, such as if bed rest is needed, if the pregnancy includes multiples, or if a C-section is necessary.
Learn more about how much a surrogate makes.
The surrogacy process is complex and requires lawyers with the expertise to accurately interpret an evolving area of law that varies from state to state—or even county to county or judge to judge. A lawyer helps hopeful parents navigate their state laws (or country laws) as well as the carrier’s state laws. Situations may arise where additional legal representation is needed, especially regarding establishing parental rights.
Situations which involve lawyers during the surrogacy journey include:
Drafting the Carrier Agreement: This is the legal contract between intended parents and surrogates, which spells out the rights and responsibilities of each party.
Egg Donor Agreement: This contract provides intended parents with the control of all eggs retrieved from the donor, as well as any resulting embryos.
Establishing Parental Rights: Depending on the state’s surrogacy laws, lawyers for intended parents obtain pre-birth or post-birth court orders that ensure the intended parents are the sole parents of the child. Other considerations that may require legal representation include ensuring that birth certificates reflect proper parentage and that intended parents enjoy all parental rights under state law.
Intended parents are responsible for the surrogate’s medical expenses, so it’s important that a health insurance plan covers those expenses. Intended parents are responsible for all costs related to IVF for their gestational carrier or egg donor.
The types of insurance needed in a surrogacy journey include:
Life insurance limits the intended parents’ liability if a surrogate passes away and compensates her family for their loss.